What Is Charcot Foot?
This medical condition involves nerve damage (neuropathy) in the ankle or foot, resulting in a progressive loss of sensation. Since the foot cannot effectively feel pain, cold, heat, awkward positions or other signs of trouble, the risk of injury rises considerably. After repeated trauma and injuries, the foot’s joints, bones, ligaments and cartilage become damaged. In advanced cases, the foot may become deformed and fractured.
Charcot foot affects the forefoot and midfoot, and it occurs most commonly among individuals with diabetes. In many cases, the long-term development of diabetic peripheral neuropathy leads to Charcot foot, which develops in just weeks or months. Even minor injuries, such as twisting the foot or an open wound, can trigger this condition.
What Are Charcot Foot Symptoms?
If any of these symptoms are present, then it may be time to consult a qualified podiatrist such as Dr. Wrotslavksy.
* Dislocation of a foot or ankle joint
* Instability of a foot or ankle joint
* Insensitivity in the foot
* Strong pulse
* Subluxation, or misalignment of a joint
How Is Charcot Foot Treated?
The treatment plan is customized to each individual’s condition. First, X-rays are ordered to pinpoint the location of fractures and misalignments. For a stable foot, non-surgical options include using a cast or brace while avoiding any pressure or weight on the foot. In more advanced cases, surgery may be needed to redistribute the pressure on the foot and reposition the bones for proper healing. Afterwards, custom diabetic shoes may be recommended to decrease the risk of ulcers and injury. In the most extreme cases, a stubborn infection may require amputation of the foot and ankle.
For an example of the difference that timely treatment can make, please view these before and after pictures of Charcot foot treatment: